November 2007

(Lk 22:24-30)

True greatness is serving others as an example of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, even to the point of self-sacrifice.


(Lk 19:1-10)

Even for the greedy sinner it is possible, by faithful effort, to change his mind and treat others as one would like to be treated, and it is such lost souls that the Lord has a keen interest in saving.

(Lk 14:7-14)

Addressing members of a group that wields social power among men, Jesus teaches that it is fruitless in terms of the soul to stab at the material world with an attitude of greed and arrogance, for it should be remembered that in this petty game there is, sooner or later, someone more powerful who puts the greedy and arrogant to shame as mere men.

It is equally fruitless in terms of the soul for men of material means to gather together to celebrate themselves, trading favors, while excluding others in the community deserving of material help. More importantly, sacrificing for others with a sense of compassion for the soul is good for the soul, an important step towards salvation.

(Lk 13:1-5)

We are all equally susceptible to the vagaries of the material world, regardless of the extent to which we are sinners. Salvation of the soul, however, starts with a change of the mind, of the attitude towards the material world and the putting into practice of the teachings of Jesus, of God’s will.

He was a simple monk, he always worked with his hands, and he ate moderately. He never gossiped. We held short, simple, but meaningful conversations in three languages.

He taught me how to pray. He said pray slowly because, after all, you are speaking to the Lord. And to pray often, to keep away the Devil.

On the evening we learned of his painful death, we composed hymn, psalming good-bye to life as the stalks of wheat swayed in the wind under purple sky like undulating waves of the ocean, and recited Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians at night in candle-lit darkness. The Lord is near.

For three days we recited all the Psalms and we cried at his funeral because of love.

Just as he worked with his hands, with our hands we dug a hole in the ground in which to bury him, anointing his body with oil, and, after deep sadness, we felt the rush of joy because we know that to live is Christ and to die is gain.

We worked hard on his day of remembrance, like he did during life on earth, and we cried because of love.

Father Niphon, Αιωνία εν Μνήμη.

(originally published 3 November 2006)